Fifteen Minute Ficlets (#15MF) is a weekly Sunday writing challenge hosted here on The Literary Phoenix. Based on a single word, write a short story in fifteen minutes. The word count is irrelevant. Just write your heart out for 15 minutes and be inspired by the word. You never know what you’ll end up with!
This week’s word: “Ink”
1. a colored fluid used for writing, drawing, printing, or duplicating.
1. mark (words or design) with ink.
2. sign (a contract).
Ember hesitated, the pluming quill trembling in her unsteady hand. Tendrils of fluffy white molted from it. A single droplet of murky black ink dripped from the tip. She stared at the spot, mesmerized and horrified all at once. In allowing the ink to drop, had she unintentionally created a black mark on someone’s life story?
She shivered and set the quill back on the ancient writing desk. They were wrong, she had been wrong. She couldn’t do this. There may be some magic in her, but not the sort that created heroes and villains. She had no desire to be tied up in the strings of other peoples’ lives, to be drawn up by their good deeds and dragged down by their crimes. She was no puppet-master.
That settled it. She would go back out to the council room and tell the Elder One there had been a mistake. Ember had no power with words, and she would not write these stories.
The mere thought sent a migraine pulsing through her head. All colors drained from her vision except shades of nauseating violet. She tried to muffle a scream, but it came out as a whining sob and tears burst from her stinging eyes and down her cheeks.
“No, no, no!” she murmured, pressing her forehead against the writing desk to feel the slightly cool polish on the wood. “I’m sorry… I’m sorry…. I’ll do it… I’m sorry….”
The migraine eased back and a few more colors entered her vision – a navy blue and sharp red. She felt like she was looking at the world through a chipped crystal. Her head swam and stomach turned. The pain had not gone away, not entirely. It didn’t trust her. She reached out for the quill again and forced herself to press the tip to the paper. Once she had done that, the words flowed freely from her, as though another force had taken control of her hand and worked independently of her mind.
Morganna kicks her feet in the river and watches her sister with disdain.
As soon as the words appeared, Ember wanted to tear apart the parchment. She wanted to lift her hand, cross out the word disdain, and replace it with admiration. The little girl with no parents and wide-eyes would think only sweet things, and live a happy life, if Ember had any choice in the matter.
She did not. Her magic forced her to record the truths of great people. It did not mean those people would be good, or kind, or any older than five summers. It only meant they would do great things and their legacy preserved. Even terrible ones.
Her hand continued freely.
She felt hot anger boiling, watching the way her sister laughed and forgot her place, her past, her sister. How she assimilated into this mad village with their petty superstitions! She saw the future in her dreams and she knew it would be her sister at the head of the charge to burn her alive at this year’s winter solstice. There was so little time….
The pain faded away. Ember stared at the words in her own scraggly handwriting. She had seen this girl and been to this village… she did not doubt their mad superstitions, for they had tried to kill her. Would they murder a child as well? She couldn’t believe it, didn’t want to, but the words were there.
I have to help her, Ember realized, and suddenly the chains around her ankles seemed heavier than ever.
Ember is the heroine in one of my current (endless) works-in-progress, THE STORY COLLECTOR. Young Ember wants nothing more than to free her parents from the protective quarantine over their town and avenge the death of her sister, but when she is bequeathed a rare and important magical gift, the Seers decide she has a different future… one she passionately tries to escape to follow her own desires.
To join, link up in the comments below with the URL to your blog POST (not your blog), and I will make sure that you get added to the post!
Remember to read everyone’s ficlets, and to have fun! 🙂